I have this group of constant girlfriends here in my life in Austin. And luckily, all of our guys get along rather well too! Maybe it’s due to their shared obsession with an Austin-based burger bar – hopdoddy. So obsessed with the joint’s beefy “goodness” that they were willing to subject themselves to the torture of hopdoddy’s hottest, spiciest burger to date – the ghostland burger.
For my own entertainment, I was sure to record their spicy venture into manhood.
So, even though they clearly didn’t enjoy the ghost burger, after this feat, their obsession with hopdoddy only grew. Part of their obsession is spelled out in its name itself.
Let me break it down for you….
hop: handcrafted beer [since they only serve local, craft beer]
doddy: the nickname given to the Scottish cow [aka beef]
Therefore, hopdodddy = beer & beef
hopdoddy consider burgers & beer to be the perfect culinary merger and they consider themselves the creator of THE perfect burger-beerr union. Now, it definitely makes sense that the guys in my life would be drawn to a burger-beer place on a regular basis but what doesn’t make sense is why they’re drawn to hopdoddy over any other burger place in Austin. Personally, I’ve only been left disappointed or frustrated during my visits and I’ve been dragged there often enough that I’m entitled to an opinion.
I realize I have a bit of a bias since I’m a “veggie loving hippie” but even if they served the world’s greatest veggie burger, I’m not sure I would ever visit hopdoddy solo without the friends-social aspect to persuade me.
So here’s my ode to hopdoddy, venting my frustrations.
Hopefully they hear me, and if anything, maybe they’ll take a suggestion or two….
1. You make me stand in a line outside the restaurant only to get inside and stand in another line (for drinks) followed by a third line to order my food.
WHY AM I STANDING IN THREE DIFFERENT LINES?! I thought I was standing in the first line to order food. Alas, I was wrong, the first line was the line to get into the AC / heat (whatever be the season). The second line is to mosey past the bar and out of boredom order a cocktail [the hopdoddy moneymaker line]. The third line is the line I thought I was waiting in all along – the line to order food [queue angels singing here].
2. When I’m about to about to step up and order my food, you hit pause and let other people move forward in front of me.
I get it, I came with 5 friends and you don’t have a table available to accommodate the 6 of us but it’s just plain sad that after I spent an hour and 8 minutes waiting in both of your lines, you push me to the side and force me to watch the 2-party patrons place their orders and wander to their seats. Couldn’t you at least let me and my friends get a soda or have a server get me a refill on my cocktail I paid $12 for? I’m parched from standing in all three lines for so long and need something to entertain me while I continue to wait on the sideline – why not another drink or some pickles to pass the time!
3. Your drinks are weak and overpriced.
I know you aren’t in the business of mixing cocktails – you’re in the business of tapping beer and “spanking your patties because they like it” but that doesn’t mean you can’t attempt to pour a decent cocktail.
At least your Lil Prick cocktail with tequila and prickly pear juice lives up to its name with only a little bit of tequila! No worries though, its excessive use of hot pink prickly pear juice sure does make up for that lack of alcohol! [That color's all natural too, right? Just like you advertise all your other ingredients to be?]
4. Your burgers fall apart when I pick them up.
How can I eat a burger in a bun when I pick it up and it crumbles to the the table?
I’m not talking about JUST the veggie burgers [though those have it the worst!]. Your spanked patties are overstuffed into your “made fresh daily” buns and any normal eating practices must be abandoned in order to consume the burger. I’ve watched countless times as my own veggie burger crumbled apart and my friend’s burgers become a deconstructed burger salad. [That is a culinary trend these days, maybe that's what you're going for here?]
Could you at least start serving your burgers with a fork? That way we have something to eat it with when it falls apart?
Or better yet, here’s a suggestion - put those crumbly patties in a wrapper!
They work marvelously at holding things together. I bet you can even get compostable wrappers provided by a local vendor so it fits into your whole recycle, be green, get local theme you not so casually market throughout your entire restaurant and website. [Yes, hopdoddy even have signs telling us which color straws are recyclable and which aren't - make sure to get each in its proper bucket after enjoying a milkshake]
5. Your specials don’t make me feel special.
Again, I get it, you’re a BURGER place and by tradition, burger means beef. But if you’re going to offer a special, let’s offer a special every now and again that appeals to your veggie lovers because as I mentioned, we vegetarians are being dragged to hopdoddy by our beef loving, burger eating friends and family.
And for the record, that one time in December, when you offered the Janis Joplin as a vegetarian burger special, doesn’t count because that used to be on your menu before you traded it out for that other veggie burger. [Both fall apart]
[I agree, this Janis Joplin burger looks tasty - but not when you end up eating it in pieces off your tray as a brown rice, avocado, bready mess]
Here’s my veggie burger suggestion for you, hopdoddy: Revisit your Janis Joplin veggie burger recipe, add in extra binder to hold it all together [a little egg white might help!] and pair it with some goat cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, sautéed roasted mushrooms and the truffle aioli you’ve already got goin’ on. #Winning
6. Your servers are only allowed to bring little cups of pickles.
You know, for being so big on “living green” you would think that if your patrons want a boatload of pickles, you’d rather have your servers put it in the big queso cups. This would reduce waste and make your servers more efficient because they wouldn’t be running back and forth to the kitchen for more pickles every time they revisit my table.
Do the math: Big Cups of Pickles = Less Waste = More Efficient Servers = Happy Customers. Sounds simple to me. [And here's where I compliment you hopdoddy - you do pickles right which is why the big cups are a necessity, especially for your vegetarian diners]
7. Your salads are pathetic and will never constitute as a meal.
Before I tell you why your salads are pathetic, I do want to applaud you for at least attempting to put a salad on the menu at a burger joint! But let’s be honest, these are more like oversized garnishes with a few hidden treasures. Your salads are nothing more than a bed of greens, with a dusting of cheese, and a sprinkling of “salad accents.”
The “salad accents” are so sparse that they get lost in the greens. To make your salad a bit more filling – why don’t you be a bit more heavy handed on the accents, include a denser vegetarian protein, and a toasted bun on the side.
By the looks of your salad, it seems you think salad is synonymous with anorexic but you’re wrong. If I order a salad at a burger restaurant, I still want it to be filling WITHOUT having to add a burger, chicken, tuna or veggie patty on top.
Here’s my salad suggestion for you, hopdoddy: Go Greek. You have all the basic ingredients already – start with your spinach & arugula base, add in some goat cheese, kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, chickpeas, hardboiled egg and a side of tzatziki or hummus (which can serve dual purpose by adding it to your current Greek burger or a future veggie burger special). Toast up half a wheat roll cut into triangles sprinkled with paprika and you’ll have an all-star salad. #Winning…Again.
Again, hopdoddy, I don’t hate you I’m just disappointed and tired of leaving frustrated and unfulfilled. Granted, we all know I’ll be back, dragged there by my fiance or group a friends. You’ll know it’s me, because I’l be the one making all the modifications.